Peak Oil is You

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Survive the Coming Collapse

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Modern industrial civilization is based on fossil fuels; we have been burning about 30 billion barrels of petroleum every year. Fossil fuels make possible our manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, mining, and electricity. The problem is ”peak oil”: the world’s supply of usable, recoverable oil is on a long and bumpy plateau that will become less horizontal as time goes by. Production will drop to half of the peak amount around 2030. In fact, oil production per person (as opposed to oil production in an absolute sense) declined from 5.5 barrels per year in 1979 to 4.3 barrels in 2013.


Fossil fuels are in decline, but metals are also becoming less plentiful. Electricity will be in decline worldwide because it is produced mainly with fossil fuels. These three — fossil fuels, metals, and electricity — are highly interconnected: if one of the three fails, then so do the other two.


Alternative sources of energy will never be very useful, for several reasons, but mainly because of a problem of ”net energy”: the amount of energy output is not sufficiently greater than the amount of energy input. Alternative sources simply don’t have enough ”bang” to replace 30 billion annual barrels of oil — or even a small fraction of that amount.


”Peak oil,” however, basically results in ”peak food.” Without mechanization, irrigation, and synthetic fertilizer, crop yields will drop considerably.


The following suggestions will vary in their applicability as the years go by, but most of them will remain relevant over the course of this century. The slight bias toward the United States and Canada is partly due to the fact that these areas meet most of the criteria for a suitable post-oil habitat.


1. Preparing for the post-oil world, which is really the post-almost-everything world, is quite different from preparing for the short-term emergencies covered in most survival manuals. The future will not consist merely of “stocking up,” waiting for the big moment, and then locking your doors and waiting for “the authorities” to arrive. In fact, you should stop thinking of it as an “emergency” — after all, your ancestors lived in that same “emergency” for millions of years.


2. The world now has an average of more than 100 people for every square mile of land surface. In foraging (hunting-and-gathering) societies, on the other hand, there is an average of only about 0.1 person per square mile. Since the survivors will be living closer to a “foraging” way of life than to an “industrial” one, it would be better to move to somewhere with a low population density.


3. Those who live in rural areas will be better prepared than those who live in a city. A city is a place that consumes a great deal and produces little, at least in terms of essentials. A city without incoming food or water collapses rapidly, whereas a small community closely tied to the natural environment can adjust more easily to technological and economic troubles.


4. Learn to grow your own food. However, only about 10 percent of the world’s land is suitable for crops, and nearly all of that is already being used. Also, the “10 percent” refers to the land when it was virgin soil; since then much of it has been quite depleted. Nevertheless, people have drifted into urban areas to such an extent over the years that many rural areas now have a fair amount of abandoned but arable land.


5. No matter how many books you’ve read, it takes years of large-scale gardening to become sufficiently skilled that you could safely grow enough food to keep yourself and your family alive through a winter. Learning to raise animals takes even longer. A further restriction is that you’ll probably be living on only marginally usable land.


6. Good soil has sufficient humus (organic matter, perhaps from compost or from animal manure), and also adequate amounts of about 16 elements, especially nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — naturally occurring or otherwise. Humus will do little to make up for missing elements. (Be leery of “organic gardening” — much of it is little more than folklore.) There’s no practical way to turn sand, rock, or swamp into a garden large enough to feed a family. If you’re planning to grow anything, you’ll need to find good land.


7. It’s possible to live mainly on cultivated plants, but at least half an acre per person would be needed, because the plants need to be spread out to catch whatever water falls from the sky. (”Intensive” gardening is possible only with motorized irrigation to supply sufficient water.) Useful crops would be those high in carbohydrates and protein. Less useful would be those susceptible to diseases, bugs, bad soil, or bad weather.


8. Where farming isn’t practical, you might survive on foraging (hunting and gathering), especially in areas of very low human population density. It’s generally impossible to live solely on wild plants (in most of the north, blueberries are the only wild plant food worth serious attention), so it would be necessary to hunt, trap, and fish.


9. A gun would be handy until there was no more ammunition. There’s no such thing as a perfect gun, so you have to make your own decisions. A .22 is quiet, with very lightweight ammunition; even large animals can be killed with such a gun (although perhaps not legally) if you hit the vital areas. A 12-gauge shotgun will take a variety of ammunition, but it’s good only for short distances. Probably most people would do best with a rifle in .308 or .270 caliber. Bolt (and, to some extent, lever) actions are less trouble-prone than either pump or semi-automatic.


10. A possible problem with hunting for game, in post-collapse times, is that there might be too many people doing it. However, the shortage of fuel will cut down the number of motorized vehicles on which modern hunters depend. Also, most people in modern industrial civilization lack the physical stamina to go wading through a swamp all day, looking for a moose. Finally, there are simply not that many people who have the skills for serious hunting.


11. The only heating fuel will be wood. In a cold climate, from 2 to 10 full cords are needed for a winter, depending on many factors. A full cord is 128 cubic feet , which is 4 trees of 12-inch diameter. Two acres of trees will provide 1 cord on a sustainable basis. With a non-motorized saw, conserve your strength by cutting logs less than 6 inches wide — also, they will not require splitting. The smaller the house, the less wood that will be needed. Rooms that are not needed in winter should be closed off; windows should be covered.


12. Except for a very few people who have the temperament and the skills, living alone will not be practical. “Dunbar’s number” of the maximum practical size for a human group is 150, but in reality a tribe takes generations to form, so a rapidly assembled group might be much smaller. For the most part, it is the family — the ties of blood or marriage — that serves as the basic unit of any society. Groups of the size of a village are viable because everyone knows everyone, and a smaller community has a greater chance of cohesion and consensus.


Peter Goodchild
Author of Tumbling Tide: Population, Petroleum, and Systemic Collapse (London, Ontario: Insomniac Press, 2014)

Survive Peak Oil

50 Comments on "Survive the Coming Collapse"

  1. Plantagenet on Sun, 31st May 2015 8:16 pm 

    When oil runs out, why not switch to natural gas, wind, hydro, nukes, solar and other energy systems?

    The whole world is already going that way—-why fight progress?

  2. GregT on Sun, 31st May 2015 8:25 pm 

    “When oil runs out, why not switch to natural gas, wind, hydro, nukes, solar and other energy systems?”

    Because all of those other ‘energy systems’ require oil.

  3. dubya on Sun, 31st May 2015 8:31 pm 

    Of course everyone here has already done all this; uh, haven’t you?

    I have 3 issues with this: “being leery of organic gardening”. I have no idea what this means.
    Agricultural civilization has been gardening organically for about 10,000 years, only destroying the soil every 500-1000 years. Modern farming has ruined a lot of soil in just a few decades.
    So assuming you don’t wish to farm organically in a world (based on the article) of no oil, I’m not sure where I’m going to pick up a bucket of Round-Up to spray behind my tractor.

    Second is ‘a gun would be handy’. I’ve fired an average of 50 rounds per week for about 35 years, much of that professionally. I suspect that if you shoot much less than that there is a good chance you’re going to loose a finger, a friend or your life. Good luck.

    3rd Foraging ‘in areas of very low human population density’. I work in northern Canada & outback Australia. Both these areas are already over populated well above their carrying capacity, with a deadly climate. I’m not sure where they are thinking would be better. Saudi Arabia? Antarctica?

  4. Apneaman on Sun, 31st May 2015 8:31 pm 

    Sure Plant, India is really cleaning up their act eh? Who is going to come up with the few trillion for the conversions? Shipping runs on bunker fuel, rail, mining and commercial transport are deisel. Government subsides?

  5. Perk Earl on Sun, 31st May 2015 9:23 pm

    Hey, GregT, you remember that innocent looking bird. Well, I recorded it’s sound this AM and above is a link to a youtube video. Turn up the sound on your speakers to appreciate the piercing chirp at 4 AM. At the end you’ll see it at the end of the roof ridge of our art studio below the house.

  6. GregT on Sun, 31st May 2015 9:30 pm 

    I thought you already got rid of it Perk?

  7. Perk Earl on Sun, 31st May 2015 10:00 pm 

    It did leave for a week or so, and now unfortunately it’s back but mostly just between 4-5 AM when we’re trying to sleep and cool the house down with fans in the windows. I have to get up, turn off the fans, close the windows and then the house gets hot sooner.

    During the day it’s somewhere else because of this irredescent tape I put up that flutters in the wind and reflects streaks of light.

    The strange thing is I’ve heard other mocking birds around the lake when we go for walks in the evening, but none of them sound like that one particular bird.

  8. GregT on Sun, 31st May 2015 10:03 pm 

    Have you tried a garden hose?

  9. GregT on Sun, 31st May 2015 10:10 pm 

    Sounds like you have a Canadian Goose problem too.

  10. antaris on Sun, 31st May 2015 10:47 pm 

    Ha Ha Ha. CF18

  11. Perk Earl on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 12:04 am 

    Garden hose. Interesting idea, GregT, maybe I’ll try that, although most of the time I can’t even figure out where it is.

  12. antiwarforever on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 4:31 am 

    people devoid of even the most basic survival skills like me in your scenario are doomed. Whatever…

  13. Davy on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 5:50 am 

    Article said “The future will not consist merely of “stocking up,”
    The most important part of preparing is for the beginning of “THE” emergency regardless of the emergency’s duration and degree that will unfold. I call this short term prep. We just don’t know how this emergency will unfold and how bad it will be and how long it will be until stability is restored. Then we may have a new cycles of emergencies in an ongoing step down even after an initial stability has been restored.

    My point is the initial emergency is the critical one to be prepped for and that means stocking up. At a minimum you should have 2 months of food/water, cash, gold, ammo, lighting, backup heating, and alternative transport as a shortish general list of a longish one. Why is this important it is important because you do not want to be scrambling for the basics? You want to be planning for the longer term and how you will secure the above when your two months’ supply runs out. There is the longer term prep but that involves your life’s journey post collapse. This longer term relies heavily on your local and its survivability and what type of emergency. It involves how you will provide for yourself and be a productive citizen of your local post BAU.

    Articles #2&3 is again poor description of what may be coming. Foraging could be important but if it becomes only foraging then you should be ready for the worst. Too many people with too little forage pretty much in the majority of locals. Again so much matters on the type of emergency in relation to degree and duration and your local in relation to resilience and sustainability. Cities in a mild emergency may be better than rural areas that have been triaged out of the system of supply. If that rural area does not have good food and water potential than it will be a hard scramble existence while cities continue to provide support.

    In a severe emergency cities with 10,000 population or more will likely be a very difficult place to be with the degree of danger increasing with size but also being mitigated by location. A town like my nearest two cities of 2MIL both Kansas City and St Louis are surrounded by farmland and open space. An east coast city in the mega population corridor of endless population will be difficult to manage and people will be destructively on the move.

    This emergency could be a hybrid affair of new and old longer term in a mild emergency. Locals that have gardening potential, local food production, good water, and temperate climate will fare better. It comes down to the type of emergency and location that will be the key. There are just so many combinations this is very difficult to predict. I would say know your local’s survivability in a variety of emergencies. Have the basics I mentioned above for the beginning.

    Articles 5-12 is again not very good look at a wide variety of circumstances that are possible. The discussion of producing food is not broad enough for the type of emergency. If we have a mild emergency we will see a hybrid of new and old. We will likely still see production Ag along with a back to the land permaculture of smaller scale farming. There will be some time to get this going.
    His mention on group sizes is poor too. This will come down initially to your already established local including cities. Is your city already marginally safe? If not it will surely be unsafe in an emergency of any kind. We know the authorities will establish some kind of martial law in a mild emergency. In a severe emergency we will see triage into locals that are survivable. If it really gets bad then the guy brings up a good point on #12 the Dunbars number.

    Here are the basics. Have your short term covered per your local. Have a longer term or a longer term plan per your local. Know your local in a variety of emergency situations. Most people will not be able to prep for the most severe of emergencies beyond the short term. Most are struggling with the immediate of providing within BAU now how are they going to plan for a longer term emergency we are not sure when it will happen.

    Stocking up for the initial emergency is no different than stocking up for a camping trip. This is basic and anyone that discounts this basic prep action is an idiot. If you expect the authorities to take care of you then you are naïve. The authorities may be able to help but in many cases it will come down to help when a return to stability occurs. There is no way to predict the emergency so at least stock up for 2 months. Any emergency will be ugly, painful and possibly deadly so mentally prep above all else. This is called getting out of denial of death.

  14. antiwarforever on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 6:52 am 

    I work in northern Canada & outback Australia. Both these areas are already over populated well above their carrying capacity, with a deadly climate. I’m not sure where they are thinking would be better. Saudi Arabia? Antarctica?

    I naively thought northern CND and the outback were practically devoid of human population, was I wrong ?
    on the other hand, with an exploding world population , thanks to climate change wouldn’t it be possible to colonize northern Siberia or Antartica ? albeit a difficult task, it seems to me more practical than colonizing Mars!

  15. Revi on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 7:03 am 

    I wonder if places with “abandoned land” will really be very viable. People left those places because it was really difficult to live there. I think a small town might be the best choice for most people. There are lots of small towns with lots of houses you can get cheaply, which have garden space. It might not be ideal, but it’s hard to defend an isolated homestead also.

  16. doug on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 8:51 am 

    GregT: It’s call a Canada Goose not Canadian Goose.

  17. GregT on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 9:19 am 

    Ya doug,

    Being a Canadian, that is used to being plagued by the damn things, I should know better. Actually, I really do, it was just a typo.

  18. penury on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 10:21 am 

    “Survive the Collapse?” If I read the signs correctly This collapse could take a hundred years. If it takes less time it will cause more problems than currently Greece has. No medications, no clean sheets in the hospitals, unable to pay for services (hello Detroit and Baltimore), Unable to find food at an affordable price (I know, grow your own)alt E will not work except for those who currently have a working system. The majority of humans are urban residents. There may be pockets of humans whom survive the initial collapse, but no one will survive very long.

  19. JuanP on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 10:43 am 

    While there are some good ideas in the article, the author seems to be ignorant of many things. Re 4: Soil can be improved in an instant right now, but this won’t always be possible. Just add coconut coir and/or peat moss, compost, earthworms and castings, vermiculite and/or perlite, and micronized Azomite and/or Gaia Green glacial rock dust, the proper bacteria and fungi and give this mix time and filter your water to remove Chlorine, and you will be amazed with the results.

    Re 6: While I know very little about weapons, I know that a single shot 12 gauge shotgun can be fit with a series of very useful adapters that allow it to shoot different types of shells and bullets, all the way down to .22LR. Dave Canterbury has some good YouTube videos on the subject. A single shot 12 gauge with an adapter kit makes a great survival weapon.

  20. joe on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 10:44 am 

    How prepped were people in 1815? 1880? Or 1900?
    Little or no health care, using coal/steam in more efficient ways and expanding into new areas bringing their economics, problems and politics with them.
    Much of the economy in the future is likely to be a mix of slow decline, poor health, no safety net, more violence, less law, and high level advancement with a positive outlook.
    Imagine a newspaper headline with the words ‘millions die in latest flu outbreak’ as happened in 1913. That didn’t stop progress as we were only discovering oil then, but the curve up will match the curve down, there won’t be growth to replace them. People will still be people though, fighting, talking and spending. Sadly there won’t be a ‘peak oil eureka’ only a steady decline to match the wars and revolutions that brought us up. As trackorisation freed the Russian people in the communist five year plans so they will grumble as the five year plan puts food in their mouth and gives them a job in the ‘new’ economy back in the fields. So we will all grumble. Except of course the 1%.

  21. Pops on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 1:20 pm 

    Wow, what a flashback! Sounds like every post on in 2004. Eat bugs, burn the furniture.

    In my none too humble opinion the biggest problems most of us will face are economic, the pink slip is the zombie that will get you. Industrial ag will continue waay into the future because a man (or army) with hoes can’t compete.

    Since most of us don’t have the aptitudes or assets to be anywhere near independant out primary problem will be coming up with the cash to buy our necessities.

    We aren’t going to be foraging.

  22. Apneaman on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 3:58 pm 

    Or your biggest problem might be how to avoid falling into the clutches of religious nut jobs (American Taliban?) after TSHTF. Scape goating will be endemic. Move away while you still can.

    Radio Host – Is Flooding God’s Judgement on Texas “Sodomites”?

  23. Apneaman on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 4:01 pm 

    Jesus is pissed

    Record-breaking May rainfall in Texas and Oklahoma, by the numbers

  24. Speculawyer on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 4:19 pm 

    “Because all of those other ‘energy systems’ require oil.”

    They may currently use oil but that does not mean they require oil.

  25. GregT on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 5:56 pm 

    When you figure out a way to build a hydro electric dam, a nuclear power plant, an electric grid, or how to frac for natural gas without oil spec. Start your own company. You will be a multi-billionaire in no time. Everyone in the world will be standing in line waiting to hire you.

    In the meantime, all of those other ‘energy systems’ require oil.

  26. Apneaman on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 6:10 pm 

    Water, in massive amounts, is something else that is a necessity for those energy systems. Running low on that too.

  27. Apneaman on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 6:14 pm 

    Study: Global warming risks changes to ocean life unprecedented in the last 3 million years

    “The impacts cannot fail to affect life on land, given the ocean’s role in supporting human populations, said co-author Richard Kirby, a plankton expert at Britain’s University of Plymouth.

    “When the temperature of the environment changes, animals and plants change in abundance locally or may move to new locations if the habitat is suitable,” Kirby said. “These movements ultimately affect the food web and ecology, and if they are rapid, the food web may become uncoupled.””

  28. Apneaman on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 6:20 pm 

    These fine Christian folks have done quite a job putting together this massive well documented list of animal die-offs. Obviously I differ on the root cause, they think it’s cock sucking and ass fucking, while I’m sticking with human overshoot, but credit where credit is due nonetheless.

    Mass Animal Deaths for 2015

  29. GregT on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 6:27 pm 

    “This talk is a bit on the reality side, and a lot of it is depressing. . . Yet all of it is fixable. . . The problem is, we ignore reality and don’t take it seriously.”

    Ocean Apocalypse NOW

  30. Apneaman on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 8:09 pm 

    Yukon sets forest fire record for May
    70 of 93 fires still burning in the territory

    N.W.T. fire season well above average already
    69,000 hectares burned so far, compared to average of 5,000 hectares for this time of year

  31. Apneaman on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 8:19 pm 

    ”Imminent” Collapse of the Antarctic Ice Shelf and a ”New Era” in the Arctic

  32. Makati1 on Mon, 1st Jun 2015 8:46 pm 

    Good article…not! So many wrong assumptions. Got to #3 before I started to question the author’s recommendations.

    #6 …”There’s no practical way to turn sand, rock, or swamp into a garden large enough to feed a family.”…

    Ask the Mayans, Aztecs and all the other native cultures how they managed to do that and live for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of years on the land they ‘made’. Has anyone seen the rice paddies of northern Luzon? Will it be easy? No. Is it possible? Of course. Water availability is more important then the current quality of the land.

  33. Wolfie52 on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 7:29 am 

    Many make the argument that past civilizations have grown food and foraged etc. That is true, but the problems are this: scale and knowledge. First, they accomplished this things in a stable to slightly expanding population and energy base…knowledge was passed down and continually improved.

    The problem now is the scale of (over) population and lost knowledge. It is easy when you are subsistence farmer/gatherer and there are small incremental gains in you standard of living and energy inputs.

    Contrast this to current society that expects food on demand and has virtually NO knowledge of how to sustain life without modern conveniences.

    This will be exacerbated by wars, civil unrest, massive migrations, lawlessness, governments unable to provide security, then add to this a VERY PISSED OFF population trying to adjust to declining standards of living and energy inputs. Not a pretty picture.

    The good news is that for the short term most of us in the industrial west will probably be relatively unaffected for the next 10-30 years. Only the youngest will probably face the real problems, which are and will be happening much slower than many anticipate.

  34. ERRATA on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 8:26 am

    “Moreover there is no way solar power can sustain
    “our present wasteful way of living.””

  35. Davy on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 9:21 am 

    Wolf, this food production collapse could happen quickly if we are not careful. Both a financial crisis or a liquid fuel crisis could thrust us into food insecurity globally in a matter of weeks.

  36. Davy on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 9:26 am 

    ERR, I would take that further. Since there is no way solar can suppor our wasteful lifestyles it will not support any future lifestyle because it is the current level of industrialization with its economies of scale that allow dispersed global solar production.

    Fossil fuels are the end game for industrial man. There is no reform and there are no plan B’s. There is only mitigation and adaptation to the effects of a painful and ugly descent.

  37. marmico on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 10:04 am 

    Sounds like every post on in 2004. Eat bugs, burn the furniture

    Someone knows how to cut through the word salad prattle of doomer collapseniks.

    Peak oil for dummies.

    From EIA Q42004 to Q42014 data, all petroleum liquids [crude + condensate] supply rose from 84.5 [73.4] mb/d to 94.5 [79.0] mb/d representing an 11.8% [7.6%] increase.

  38. Davy on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 10:46 am 

    Captain Marm, find aMoby Dick head yet? I know you are looking for that big whale of a deal that will make you the itty-bitty investor a big timer. I think you are just a fluff reader and romanticizing about a life you will never know. You can call me a goat farmer but I have seen more life than your sorry ass will ever know. Go back to your day trading penny stock distractions.

  39. GregT on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 10:53 am 

    Peak Planet Earth for fucking idiots. You know who you are Marmico.

    “Trillions of dollars of known and extractable coal, oil and gas, including most Canadian tar sands, all Arctic oil and gas and much potential shale gas, cannot be exploited if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2C safety limit agreed by the world’s nations. Currently, the world is heading for a catastrophic 5C of warming and the deadline to seal a global climate deal comes in December at a crunch UN summit in Paris.”

  40. marmico on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 11:36 am 

    Ya, I read that the North West Territory has a Bakken, maybe two.

    85 million barrels per day of world crude supply in 2025 and North America is a net exporter cuz Davy’s Daddy will buy him a Tesla, while GregT and I will have to work to buy a Nissan Leaf or a Chevy Volt. 🙂

  41. energyskeptic on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 11:59 am 

    I just finished “Maximum city. Bombay Lost and Found” by Suketu Mehta, and I’m struck by how over 16 million people are able to survive in such disgusting filth (half of the residents shit in the streets), hunger, disease, polluted air, and so on.

    So I can see how, in the United States, as oil shortages grow more severe, and gas stations shut down in the country, and eventually exurbia, and even suburbs, the non self-sufficient residents in ever shrinking circles from urban areas will have to move to cities just like the tens of millions of Indian peasants who move to cities because they are landless or jobless in the country. Many of them move because they fantasize they will grow rich, but fewer will have that fantasy in the Shrinking future. For a long time, rationing can keep mega-Chicago, NYC, LAX, Houston, and so on going longer than we can imagine, with water port cities lasting longer than RR cities lasting longer than truck dependent cities. But would Americans be able to adapt to such minimal survival levels quickly enough when they are so spoiled they whine endlessly about airplane travel! I wish that anyone who whined was grabbed by security in the airport and forced to travel by covered wagon… And how will the hundreds of millions of guns floating around affect things? Will gangs flee the cities and enslave the few people in the country who are self-sufficient? Or will roadblocks stop them… I expect a future much closer to North Korea (, especially with all the wing-nut Republicans in political office, than a Cuba-like outcome (, FOR SURE. And also like Japan in WW II, all of which is well thought out in Jörg Friedrichs (2010) ‘Global energy crunch: how different parts of the world would react to a peak oil scenario’, Energy Policy 38 (8): 4562-4569.

  42. Apneaman on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 12:49 pm 

    Hey Alice, speaking of shit……..

    The Apex of Industrialism:
    Manufactured Fake Shit

    ‘To this day the ammonia provided by the Haber-Bosch method accounts for 99 percent of all synthetic nitrogen fertilizers added to our soils every year – some 150 million tons, equal to that of all naturally derived sources – which means that roughly 40 percent of humanity (about 3 billion people) owe their continued survival to the process (and which is why some call it the most important invention of the twentieth century). Along with mined phosphorous and potassium, these products make up the bags of petrochemical NPK fertilizer that one sees on store shelves with the three digit combinations (10-1-5 for instance) and which end up on our suburban lawns and golf courses, and in a greater scale, on our crop fields under the guise of “plant food.”‘

  43. Apneaman on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 1:02 pm 

    Greg, 2 degrees is not anywhere near safe no matter how many agree that it is. Any scientists who say so have merely caved in to great pressure from their government and the BAU gang. There is no scientific basis for 2 degree and there never was. It was always 1 degree as the safe upper limit and this was well documented. 5 degrees is death for most humans and maybe everyone. Moving the goal posts to sooth our anxieties is another one of those quirks of ape psychology – a deadly one for the industrialized techno carbon ape.

    [Part 1] Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up

    Part II – Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up

  44. GregT on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 1:20 pm 


    I have read the literature, and fully understand that 1* was agreed upon to be the safe upper limit. I am also well aware that we are probably done for as a species now, no matter what we do.

    You and I Apnea, are on the same page, as well as a few others here that have actually been paying attention. I’m just tired of all of the stupidity, denial, and ignorance being spewed forth by the same old crew.

  45. ghung on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 1:53 pm 

    I think few grok the interdependence/inter-reliance of our industrial age systems. Degrading interconnected systems degrade virtually all to some extent when virtually none are distributed/independent. This is the fragile nature of modern-day efficiencies. History shows that less critical systems will be scavenged in attempts to shore up the more critical (AKA: triage), and few realise that we are already at that point – sacrificing the viability of economic/financial systems to support declining energy/resource quality while attempting to preserve demand.

    Risk-taking and salvage will supplant growth and production (already are in many ways); societies feeding on themselves, stealing their past and future production in an attempt to preserve the illusion of maintaining the status quo. Trust in this paradigm is being lost, globally, which is resulting in inflection points being reached in a distributed fashion. Attempts by the first world’s master class to contain the spread will merely result in exacerbating the severity of the next big step down.

    The only logical response is a local disconnect from as many of these systems as one can – simplify one’s lifestyle, and become more self-sufficient as individuals and small groups, while making arrangements for one’s own security. This, of course, is not a perfect plan, just less imperfect than assuming society-at-large will muddle through peacefully…..

    ….or just take it as it comes. Virtually all of us will experience collapse, gracefully or otherwise.

  46. Apneaman on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 1:55 pm 

    Greg, are not humans the most frustrating, fascinating and contradictory creatures ever? This is why a good daily dose of absurdity and mocking are a necessary tonic to keep one’s sanity.

  47. Davy on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 2:19 pm 

    Yea, man, G-man. Now your talking Davy doom salad. It was tasty give me some more. In all seriousness G, well said.

  48. ghung on Tue, 2nd Jun 2015 3:27 pm 

    Thanks, Davy. Just callin’ it as I see it. I took a break from building our new agricultural climate change/foul weather mitigation system (AKA: high-tunnel greenhouse) while a nearby thunderstorm passes. Didn’t seem like a good idea to be handling 20 foot long steel pipes under the circumstances. Eight days and I’m about 90% done; not bad for one guy, his small tractor and some solar-charged cordless tools. I understand I’m just leveraging what’s left of the fossil fuel age in an attempt to improve our self-sufficiency quotient, locally. A retirement plan of sorts. I plan to buy and store extra plastic while we have the funds and it’s affordable, ensuring 15-20 years of service.

    Despite what the article states, I’ve visited a couple of high-tunnel growers who produce an amazing amount of food annually with very little industrial input. Our setup could even be converted to gravity flow irrigation if needed (currently solar-pumped for better pressure). This unit is 72’x30′, and if everything works as planned, I’ll build another next to this one; help feed some neighbors. I’m planning to use mainly composted hay and other plant matter as an input, and perhaps make my own fish emulsion using fish from our very productive pond, along with animal manure; mainly chickens.

    As they say, ‘nothing ventured…..’. Beats the shit out of sitting at the computer.

  49. Mrs. Trueman on Wed, 17th Jun 2015 6:36 pm 

    Just my opinion, but it’s possible that any collapse, sudden or gradual, will take a form no one ever expected. Maybe we should be hunkering down and becoming a little less dependent on The System simply because it’s the right thing to do, not because it will magically save us.

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